8th Annual FDR Memorial Lecture: Formulating a New Good Neighbor Policy 4/8
In 1943, President Roosevelt spoke at Monterrey, Mexico noting Mexico’s contributions of military support and farm laborers to the war effort. “Our two countries,” he stated, “owe their independence to the fact that your ancestors and mine held the same truths to be worth fighting for and dying for… No less important than the military cooperation and the production of supplies needed for the maintenance of our respective economies has been the exchange of those ideas and of those moral values which give life and significance to the tremendous effort of the free peoples of the world.”
In the current political atmosphere, polluted with “alternative facts” and “fake news,” it is easy to forget the realities of U.S.-Mexico relations and the roles played by Latinos in the United States. On the one hand, Latinos contribute $1.3 trillion to the American economy in buying power. On the other hand, irrespective of their citizenship status Latinos are often vilified as “the other” by those who wish to twist their story into a single narrative of drugs, guns, gangs and terrorism — a dangerous trend for other immigrant communities as well.
Join Republican entrepreneur Solomon Trujillo and Democratic former Secretary of Housing and Urban Development Henry Cisneros, co-founders of the Latino Donor Collaborative, as we renew FDR’s call for thoughtful cross-cultural engagement. Through this non-partisan conversation, we’ll gain hard data about Latino contributions to our economy, a better understanding trade and cross-border cooperation, and realistic strategies to sustain America’s role as the greatest immigrant nation on earth.
RSVP Required. Limited to 120, with preference given to Harvard undergraduates.
About the Speakers:
Hon. Henry Cisneros is Chairman of the CityView companies. CityView is a partner in building more than 60 communities in 13 states, incorporating more than 7,000 homes with a home value of over $4 billion. He is also Chairman of the Executive Committee of Siebert Cisneros Shank, one of the nation’s premier public finance firms. In 1981, Mr. Cisneros became the first Hispanic-American mayor of a major U.S. city, San Antonio, Texas. In 1984, Mr. Cisneros was interviewed by the Democratic Presidential nominee as a possible candidate for Vice President of the United States and in 1986 was selected as the “Outstanding Mayor” in the nation by City and State Magazine. In 1992, President Clinton appointed Mr. Cisneros to be Secretary of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.
Solomon D. (Sol) Trujillo is an international business executive with three decades’ experience as CEO of high-cap global companies in the US, EU, and Australia. A digital pioneer and long-time practitioner of market-based management, Sol was an early champion high-speed broadband and the mobile Internet to stimulate productivity and innovation across all sectors of the economy. Sol currently sits on corporate boards in the US, EU, and China and has managed operations in more than 25 countries around the world – including developed as well as emerging markets from the EU and North America to China, Austral-Asia, Africa and the Middle East.
Unity Ball Keynote
For those of you who missed The Unity Ball on January 20th, here is the text of Consul General Emilio Rabasa’s keynote speech – marking the 85th anniversary of President Franklin Delano Roosevelt´s Good Neighbor Policy
Ladies and gentlemen!
My first recognition goes to the Franklin Delano Roosevelt Foundation, its President & Executive, Michael Weishan and its Director, Jed Willard, for not only having organized this significant event, but also launching a whole year program based on the celebration of the 85th anniversary of the “The Good Neigbour Policy” which include different expressions of the Mexican-USA relations.
I also want to acknowledge and thank Dean Katie O’Dair of the Office of Students Life; Harvard Public Affairs and Communications; The David Rockefeller Center for Latin American Studies; the Latin Initiative “Camino Arts”; Radio Jarocho and Ronstadt Generations y Los Tucsonenses for their support and participation to make all this possible. Special thanks to Adams House of Harvard University for hosting us tonight, and to Acitrón for their catering, hope you like this sample of Mexican food.
Thank you guests, staff and students for being here tonight.
For the Mexican Consulate it is an honor to participate at this “Unity Ball” to remember and celebrate the “85th anniversary of the Good Neighbor Policy“, which generated substantial changes in the democratic life and fundamental values in Latin America and in Mexico.
Today, it is specifically relevant to remind ourselves and everyone what the good neighbor policy was about. For that purpose, I would like to quote former President Roosevelt at his inaugural speech in 1933: “In the field of world policy, I would dedicate this Nation to the policy of the good neighbor—the neighbor who resolutely respects himself and, because he does so, respects the rights of others—the neighbor who respects his obligations and respects the sanctity of agreements in and with a world of neighbors. We now realize as we have never realized before our interdependence on each other; that we cannot merely take, but must give as well.”
Roosevelt was undoubtedly a visionary: 84 years after those words México and the United States have become fully interdependent in a diversity of activities like trade, investment, academia, technology, innovation, culture, particularly cinema, tourism, agriculture, industry, services and national security.
The good neighbor policy enforced the ties between USA and Mexico in such a way that transformed our relationship from distant neighbors to great partners and friends after NAFTA in the 1990s. From war in the XIXth and beginning of the XXth Century, to an alliance of two neighbor-friends who fight together against common foes such as crime and drug dealers; partners who invest and trade among each other, in a dimension seldom found between other neighbor countries; and creative cosponsors of art, sports and entertainment.
Integration has been so intense between our two countries that particularly now, it is essential for Mexico to conduct a proactive and creative foreign policy that includes political dialogue, constructive negotiation, the protection of Mexicans abroad, cooperation for more economic development and the defense of Mexico’s interests, here and in the world. We are now facing a new era in the relationship with the United States of America.
As such, a good neighbor policy has to consider the wider context of our present and future relation.
Thirty five million Mexican-American leave in this great country, out of which the third part were born in Mexico. These immigrants through hard work and effort, produce $240 billion each year, pay $90 billion in taxes and use only $5 billion in public services. Mexican-Americans generate 8% of the US GDP. Mexican migrants spend 86% of their earnings inside the United States; they only send 14% as remittances.
It is important to mention that those millions of Mexicans who have emigrated to look for work, are productive and good people, who represent Mexico´s best. Their contributions include professionals, scientists, innovators, artists, creators, academics, small and large entrepreneurs who invest in the United States and generate many jobs. Also, women and men who work tirelessly every day in agriculture, trade and services; Mexicans who contribute not only to their families on both sides of the border, but also share their values and efforts to the greatness of the United States and Mexico.
I consider this isn’t a zero sum game, but a win- win relation. Let me be clear that undocumented immigrants are not taking away a slice of anybody else’s pie, they’re making the entire pie bigger.
Additionally, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce estimates that trade inside NAFTA sustains 14 million American jobs, 6 million exclusively by Mexico and eight million with Canada. Trade US/Mexico is more than $1.3 billion dollars per day, almost 1 million dollars per minute. 40% of the parts that make up Mexican exports are made in the US, in other words, 40 cents of every dollar spent on Mexican goods support US jobs.
However such strong interchange has not been limited to trade and business. Some concrete examples show the diversity and richness of our common endeavors: The Academy of Arts and Sciences of Hollywood awarded the last 3 Oscars for best movie directors to two Mexicans: One for Alfonso Cuarón (Gravity) and two for Alejandro González Iñárritu (Birdman and The Revenant). In sports, ask the Dodgers about their Mexican pitcher Fernando Valenzuela’s performance. In Science, NASA awarded the Exceptional Achievement Medal in 1989 for his work in the USA, and in 1995 the Nobel Prize in Chemistry went to Dr. Mario Molina, a Mexican scientist, for his research achievements at the University of California. There is an endless list that comprises also other activities such as gastronomy, arts, music, dance and certainly the business world. Our Marine and Armed Forces have engaged in humanitarian aid to the USA, in case of natural disasters such as it was when hurricane Katrina hit New Orleans in 2005.
At present, Mexico, a 1.2 trillion dollar economy, is one of the world´s more open economies in the world, with a free trade network along 46 countries. We are the 13th exporter world wide, and by year 2050 project to be the 8th world economy.
In agricultural goods 1,596 million dollars are worth of exports in the food industry to more than 150 destinations
In education the percentage of graduate students in engineering and manufacture is higher than in Germany, Brazil, Spain, USA and UK.
Mexico is the 9th exporter of medical appliances, and an elite country of medical tourism who attends one million foreign patients each year.
Culturally Mexico is the 6th country with more sites declared Patrimony of Humanity, 1st one in Latin America, By the way, for this year UNESCO declared the Mexican Constitution that celebrates its centennial, a “memory document for humanity”. The Mexican capital has been recognized as the American Capital of Culture for 2017. Since 2015 we returned to the 10th touristic destination world wide, with more than 30 million visitors each year.
Last but not least, we proudly host more than one million Americans leaving throughout Mexico.
In 2017 Mexico will continue promoting the best causes of humanity, including respect for human rights, combat climate change, create a new global governance on migration and refugees and a new instrument for the prohibition of nuclear weapons, among our key foreign relations goals.
Finally, I would like to recall two examples drawn form our bilateral relation´s history that clearly show, how a good neighbor policy between the USA and Mexico, has worked in solving border issues by dialogue and negotiation:
Last century a shift in the regular curse of Río Grande that served as frontier between the two neighbor countries, created a conflict over about 600 acres (2,4km2) between El Paso, Texas and Ciudad Juárez, Chihuahua, known as the Chamizal conflict. After intense dialogue and negotiations during the administrations of Presidents Kennedy and Johnson of USA, and López Mateos-Díaz Ordaz from México, a solution was reached with a construction of a channel to redirect its waters, in which both countries shared the cost, along with the cost of three new bridges and the creation of the Chamizal National Memorial as a museum, to increase visitors awareness of cooperation, diplomacy and cultural values as a basic means to conflict resolution.
Another case was the dispute over de salinity of the Rio Colorado waters which originated in the USA side and deeply affected agriculture on the Mexican side, mainly in the northern state of Baja California. In 1972, the United States and Mexico found a “permanent and definitive solution” to the salinity problem. The US in addition to agreeing to provide Mexico with the quantity and quality of water required by its farmers, built a desalinization plant in Arizona to process the water from the Wellton-Mohawk diversion. This solution was reached during the Nixon-Echeverría administrations, and I know the case very well, because my father being the Foreign Secretary of Mexico talked and negotiated the solution with Henry Kissinger, the then American Secretary of State.
Those examples are true inspirations on how to solve frontier issues among our two countries through dialogue conducted with respect, and negotiation shaped with creativity.
It is true that nowadays we need a more secure border, but, for the benefit of both countries, not only of one, since the issue is not only for the control of undocumented migration and drugs into the US, but also to stop the weapons and money trafficking from the US to drug cartels and organized crime in Mexico, which is literally killing my people. A two ways problem, requires a two ways solution, between two good willing neighbors.
The friendship between our countries has been mutually beneficial and such harmony deserves to be preserved. Let’s continue on building the bridges of friendship and goodness through negotiation, cooperation and mutual respect.
A good neighbor policy must be conductive to solving problems, particularly border issues, through dialogue and negotiation on equal footage, not by confrontation, less so by subordination.
A good neighbor policy means finding ways to leave, not only in peace, but even more so, in harmony, making the neighbors border a truly bridge of richness and security and not a wall of isolation.
Thank you all and have a great night!
Roosevelt addresses the crowd at the Christmas tree lighting ceremony from the White House South Portico on December 24, 1941. Churchill can be seen on the right. (FDR Presidential Library)
It was Christmastime when Prime Minister Winston Churchill arrived in Washington on December 22, 1941—two weeks after the attack on Pearl Harbor and eleven days after Hitler audaciously declared war on the United States.
For eighteen months Churchill had wooed Roosevelt, cajoling, charming, and even begging him to bring the United States into the war against Germany. Now Churchill’s prayers were answered: the United States would certainly enter the war. On learning of the attack, Churchill later wrote, “Being saturated and satiated with emotion and sensation, I went to bed and slept the sleep of the thankful and the saved.”
Churchill had come to Washington to make sure that earlier agreements of an Anglo-American alliance against Germany (should America enter the war) remained firm in the face of the Pearl Harbor attack. Understandably, the American people had an overwhelming desire to strike back at the Japanese. Churchill needed to turn them from thoughts of revenge to Britain’s view of the realities of the Axis threat. His task was made more difficult by Japan’s stunning victories in the weeks following Pearl Harbor. In the Philippines American troops were trapped on the southern tip of the Bataan Peninsula and the Rock of Corregidor. Within a matter of days, Guam, Wake, and Hong Kong had fallen. American territories were being invaded and American lives lost. Americans wanted to throw everything they had against the Japanese.
Yet there was Britain’s precarious position to consider: if the Soviets fell, Hitler would throw his full strength into the temporarily delayed invasion of the United Kingdom. If Britain fell, what would be next for the United States? Germany was the more powerful of the foes. In an Anglo-American alliance, Churchill’s longstanding policy was the defeat of “Germany First.” He needed to make sure that the great power of the American war machine was leveled first against Hitler and second against the Japanese. Fortunately, Roosevelt agreed with him. But his position was not without dissent from some military advisors—and critics in the press and public.
Whatever his motives, Churchill’s presence was a tonic to the shattered Americans. On December 23 he joined FDR in a news conference in the Oval Office. More than two hundred journalists crowded into the room, some using edges of the president’s desk to take notes. “Wearing polka dot bow tie, a short black coat, and striped trousers,” Doris Kearns Goodwin tells us, Churchill
stared imperturbably into space, his long cigar between his compressed lips as Roosevelt spoke. When the time came for the prime minister to speak, reporters in the back called out that they could not see him. Asked to stand, Churchill not only complied, but scrambled atop his chair. “There was a wild burst of applause and then cheering,” The New York Times reported, . . . “as the visitor stood there before them, . . . with confidence and determination written on the countenance so familiar to the world.” (p. 303)
Bernard Baruch was among those invited to the White House that Christmas season. He “believed that Churchill’s visit would ‘galvanize’ American public opinion,” according to Eleanor Roosevelt biographer Blanche Wiesen Cook.
With the Pacific fleet in ruins, Wake Island fallen, Singapore besieged, and the Philippines invaded, Baruch considered Churchill “the best Christmas present” to restore heart and hope to the Allied world. “The pink-cheeked warrior in the air raid suit” was the leading symbol of resistance to the Blitz: “Do your worst, we can stand it,” his presence seemed to say. “We won’t crack up.” (Cook, pp. 409–410).
Wartime blackout regulations and tight security precautions were already in place in Washington; nevertheless, Roosevelt insisted on lighting the national Christmas tree. Various reports describe the event. “Our strongest weapon in this war is that conviction of the dignity and brotherhood of man which Christmas Day signifies,” he declared. Churchill joined Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt on the balcony of the White House before a crowd of 20,000 and in a national radio broadcast that reached millions. “Let the children have their night of fun and laughter,” Churchill said, and then:
Let the gifts of Father Christmas delight their play. Let us grown-ups share to the full in their unstinted pleasures before we turn again to the stern task and formidable years that lie before us, resolved that, by our sacrifice and daring, these same children shall not be robbed of their inheritance or denied their right to live in a free and decent world.
On December 26 Churchill addressed a Joint Session of Congress, declaring himself half-American. “By the way, I cannot help reflecting that if my father had been American and my mother British instead of the other way around, I might have got here on my own.” Much to Eleanor Roosevelt’s distress (who had a more internationalist vision), he stressed the unity and implied superiority of the English-speaking world, speaking of the “outrages they have committed upon us at Pearl Harbor, in the Pacific Islands, in the Philippines, in Malaya and the Dutch East Indies.”
Prime Minister Winston Churchill and President Franklin Roosevelt give a joint press conference in the Oval Office of the White House, December 23, 1941. (FDR Presidential Library)
The White House hosted a steady stream of diplomatic and military dignitaries during Churchill’s two-week visit. Meetings were held every day and long into the night—including Christmas day when a War Council was held from 5:30 to 6:45 pm. The war planners set themselves to the business at hand: North Africa, the Pacific and Southeast Asia, military strategy, war production, tonnage, and the Far East were among the subjects of talks. Ambassador Maxim Litvinov from the USSR, Prime Minister Mackenzie King of Canada, and the chiefs of the American Republics of South America and the Missions of the Allied Power and Refugee Governments came and went.
Since Churchill’s arrival he and FDR had been working on a Joint Declaration of Unity and Purpose for the Allies. As they laid the groundwork for war, they also began to frame the peace. It was FDR who suggested to Churchill on the morning of December 29th the name that would signify both war power and the promise of peace: the United Nations.
On New Year’s Day Franklin Roosevelt, Winston Churchill, Maxim Litvinov of the USSR, and T. V. Soong of China signed the Declaration of the United Nations. An exultant Churchill declared, “Four fifths of the human race” has resolved Hitler’s end.
The next day twenty-two additional countries signed: Australia, Belgium, Canada, Costa Rica, Cuba, Czechoslovakia, Dominican Republic, El Salvador, Greece, Guatemala, Haiti, Honduras, India, Luxembourg, Netherlands, New Zealand, Nicaragua, Norway, Panama, Poland, Union of South Africa, and Yugoslavia. Subsequently Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Ecuador, Egypt, Ethiopia, France, Iran, Iraq, Lebanon, Liberia, Mexico, Paraguay, Peru, Philippines, Saudi Arabia, Syria, Turkey, Uruguay, and Venezuela signed.
Those countries that signed by March 1945 would become the founding members of the United Nations.
The Declaration read in part:
The Governments signatory hereto,
Having subscribed to a common program of purposes and principles embodied in the Joint Declaration of the President of the United States of America and the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland dated August 14, 1941 known as the Atlantic Charter.
Being convinced that complete victory over their enemies is essential to defend life, liberty, independence and religious freedom, and to preserve human rights and justice in their own lands as well as in other lands, and that they are now engaged in a common struggle against savage and brutal forces seeking to subjugate the world,
(1) Each Government pledges itself to employ its full resources, military or economic, against those members of the Tripartite Pact and its adherents with which such government is at war.
(2) Each Government pledges itself to cooperate with the Governments signatory hereto and not to make a separate armistice or peace with the enemies.
What then was this Atlantic Charter that underpinned the entire agreement?
It was nothing less than a declaration of goals for the postwar world, an instrument for peace forged in the exigencies of war: “after the final destruction of Nazi tyranny, [it envisioned] . . . a peace which will afford to all nations the means of dwelling in safety within their own boundaries, and which will afford assurance that all the men in all the lands may live out their lives in freedom from fear and want.”
To ensure that world, Roosevelt and Churchill called for permanent disarmament and envisioned a “permanent system of general security.”
All of the nations of the world, for realistic as well spiritual reasons, must come to the abandonment of the use of force. Since no future peace can be maintained if land, sea, or air armaments continue to be employed by nations which threaten, or may threaten aggression outside of their frontiers, [the signatories] believe, pending the establishment of a wider and permanent system of general security, that the disarmament of such nations is essential.
Churchill had come to the Atlantic Conference seeking American entry into the war against Hitler to preserve the British Empire. The Atlantic Charter was Franklin Roosevelt’s vision, a reimagining of the lost promise of the League of Nations and Woodrow Wilson’s failed vision for an end to all war. Out of it grew the United Nations—an ambitious idea for a post-war world of peace, disarmament, decolonization, democratic self-determination, respect for human rights, and free trade.
This is the legacy of Christmas 1941—and a reminder of work we have yet to complete.
Cook, Blanche Wiesen. Eleanor Roosevelt: The War Years and After, Volume 3, 1939–1962. New York: Viking, 2016.
Goodwin, Doris Kearns. No Ordinary Time: Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt: The Home Front in World War II. New York: Simon and Schuster, 1994.
Year End Campaign
Dear Friends of the FDR Foundation
Seventy-five years ago this month, the United States faced its greatest peril in modern history. Yet after the senselessness of the First World War, many Americans opposed involvement in the escalating humanitarian crises overseas. The attack on Pearl Harbor changed all that and united the country against the brutal aggression of the Axis Powers in both Europe and the Pacific.
Today the United States and the world face perils of another sort. New movements opposed to our democratic way of life have emerged, but they don’t always wear uniforms. Rather they are citizens, of many nations including the United States, whose motivation is to crush those who do not agree with them. They come in many shapes, but they have one thing in common: they are captives of single-mindedness, ignorance, and intolerance—the hallmarks of totalitarianism.
Franklin Roosevelt understood the destructive power a society opposed to freedom of thought and expression. And, on June 30, 1941, as war raged in Europe, he declared,
The Franklin Delano Roosevelt Foundation at Adams House is dedicated to the capacity of people to learn from the past as we look to the future. Our next opportunity is the “Beyond Tomorrow 2: Arts, Culture, Community & the Future of Civilization,” scheduled for January 20-22. We hope to see you there. Other timely projects coming up in 2017 include “The Legacy of the Good Neighbor Policy” and “In Defense of Democracy: Preserving the Enlightenment Narrative.”
We believe each of these programs is important and timely, and deserving of support. As you are considering your end-of-year charitable giving, we ask you please help the FDR Foundation carry the powerful Roosevelt legacy forward for another seventy-five years.
Michael Weishan ’86
Franklin Delano Roosevelt Foundation, Inc.
Adams House, Harvard University
26 Plympton Street, Box 471 Cambridge, Massachusetts, 02138
The Franklin Delano Roosevelt Foundation, Inc. is a 501(c)3 U.S public charity dedicated to expanding the legacy of Franklin Delano Roosevelt and preserving the historic nature of Adams House, Harvard College, including the newly restored Franklin Delano Roosevelt Suite in Westmorly Hall. Your contributions to the Foundation are deductible to the extent allowed by law.
Before That Gilded Tower, Another President-Elect Had a Manhattan Home Base
At the stately age of 108, the handsome double-width townhouse at 47-49 East 65th Street bears no resemblance to a certain tower of gilt, glitz and high security just 12 blocks away.
Yet the last time a president-elect ran a transition from the east side of Manhattan, it took place in that 65th Street residence, the home of Franklin D. and Eleanor Roosevelt, on a street of understated grandeur.
“It was the Trump Tower of 1932-33,” said Harold Holzer, the director of Hunter College’s Roosevelt House Public Policy Institute, which now occupies the building.
If an estate in Hyde Park, N.Y., is landmarked in our historical consciousness as the Roosevelt residence, the family’s onetime city house, about 90 miles south, has its own claim as the incubator for the public lives of Roosevelt and Eleanor, two of the most consequential figures of 20th-century America. They lived there for most of 25 years.
READ MORE AT NYTIMES.COM